Welcome to my San Sebastian trip; version 2014!
The concept of fusion as it regards the dining experience has always mystified me. Few keywords are more of an instant turn off than when I find the word fusion as a description for the cuisine for a new restaurant. However, all of that changed after my outstanding meal at Txubillo, a fascinating Japanese-Basque restaurant located in San Sebastian.
Part of the magic here is possibly due to the same-day freshness of their fish, or the way in which their dishes are light and hearty at the very same time. It should also be noted that I found it particularly difficult to find this restaurant. I located my destination by discovering a narrow alleyway and then by climbing down several stairs. Indeed, given its “underground” location, Txubillo is truly a hidden gem!
Calle Matia, 5 Bajo
4.5 stars out of 5 stars
What does fusion cuisine taste like?
The first course I tasted was described as prawns “brick style”. What I anticipated was a crispy cube shaped object filled with diced prawns. The finished product was actually 4 large prawn shaped delicacies, each of which was airily crisp on the outside and filled with a whole cooked prawn inside! At this point, my mind filled with inappropriate thoughts: even though I was consuming Japanese fusion cuisine, the flavor of these prawns was eerily similar to that of shrimp toast! The contrast of texture and flavor blew me away: so light and crunchy with a fresh savory taste.
Txubillo’s second course made the best use of the most popular fish in the Basque country (and one of my new favorites as well). Here in San Sebastian, we call it merluza, but back in New York City it’s just good old Hake. In this case, Txubillo created a masterpiece: gently cooking the merluza on top of a bed of diced potatoes, topping it with surprisingly plump and juicy baked cherry tomatoes, and bringing all of these elements together with a light aromatic sauce! I kept thinking how amazingly fresh this fish tasted.
My thoughts were confirmed: I learned that Txubillo is one of those rare restaurants that catches and then serves only a few hake every day. While the Big Apple’s dining scene offers quite a few outstanding seafood establishments, it is amazing to truly taste the consequences resulting from fish that has not been flown in to my city. While I did not taste the desserts at Txubillo, these two courses alone were sufficient enough to make this meal stand out as one of the very best I consumed in the wonderful city of San Sebastian.